Nip Tuck Remodeling

by Emily Blackburn

April Bettinger

Monroe, WA
GQ All-time Recommend Rate: 100%
GQ 2020 Recommend Rate: 100%
Number of Jobs in 2020: 19
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: April Bettinger

1. Demand for services is stronger than ever. Supply delays are widespread. Building product prices are rising. Please name the concrete steps you take to keep customers satisfied as timelines and prices are fluctuating?

In order to keep our clients satisfied, we are ordering appliances as a first step in design. This allows us six or more months before they are actually needed. Additionally, we are working to select a primary and alternative selection in areas we know are challenging such as pre-finished hardwood and plumbing fixtures.

For the time being, we are also working to utilize more stock colors for cabinets or colors that we have in our portfolio that have been custom matched in the past. Our designers are also keeping the pulse on stocked items and custom lead times and working to specify items that are not being shipped internationally for now.

To add, we are considering a new commitment date in design mid-process to allow ordering of specialty items and all items that are automatically ordered at contract. We fully communicate with the client during the sales process, design process, and pre-construction meeting to update them on current project status. We have also created a new internal process to track material receipts and backorders better.

2. A good remodeling or home improvement firm knows the limits of its capabilities to take on additional work. What do/would you communicate to clients when you cannot handle their job and must decline their inquiry?

When it comes to client communication, we are being realistic in regard to the time frame that we can start both design and construction. With start dates out 9 months out, it is imperative to keep clients updated and engaged. So far, they are willing to wait. For those that cannot wait, we keep a pulse on our local peer group and who might be a larger company with more reasonable lead times that we can refer them over to.

3. During busy times like these, operational adjustments are needed in order to take on more work, often with the same level of staffing. What steps have you taken to ensure a quality experience despite the added workloads for your team?

The biggest step we have taken operationally is adding more staff to our team. Before the additional hires, the volume was simply not manageable with the added complexity of supply chain and delays. We are also looking at freelance options to outsource some additional design help.

We are also holding (if not increasing) our margin slightly to cover the additional strain on the system. We are hoping this will enable staff expansion if this is the “new normal”. Bonus structure for staff is budgeted for as a base number and we will all be rewarded with an escalating bonus for more volume with maintained overhead.

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